It has been nearly three years since last album Redemption, and on the first evidence of this album – an early version of the title track on the recent Das Bunker compilation – things were looking good for the new album.
And happily, they don’t disappoint. In some respect, some things haven’t changed. Ted’s lyrics and vocals are still filled with anger and spite, many of the songs retain their knack of including a stonking chorus…but what has changed is that everything is that little more direct and harder. Opener Collapse shows this very well, with no time wasted at all in bringing the beats to the forefront, and in due course this should make a good dancefloor filler. Judas brings the anger to the party, otherwise effective in much the same way. Further To Fall is a little slower and more melodic, while Only In My Mind has some really rather good synth-work that keeps itself at the forefront.
Never Ending is something of a slower, almost ballad-like track, with a yearning vocal – the only complaint being that perhaps it goes on a little long. The title track has been refined since it’s teaser outing earlier in the year, and has been made even better, still featuring some fantastic programming, and an urgent, driving feel that shifts about three gears up for another killer chorus.
The entire album, though, is put into the shade by the jaw-dropping instrumental Hang From Your Own Rope. From a sparse base – little more than a thumping beat and a couple of synth lines – it explodes first into a wordless chorus, then a pounding mid-section that adds layer after layer of synths on top, before returning back to what went on before. Not a second wasted, and perhaps IR’s best-ever dancefloor track. Whoever thought that an industrial act could ever sound…funky?
Kinda a hard act to follow, that. Closed In makes a good fist of it, though, being by some distance the harshest track on the album – pounding beats and screeching electronics are pushing very high into the mix, fighting all the way with the vocals. Divide is rather more melodic – reminiscent of Depeche Mode, in fact, while closer Dissolve is almost an uptempo ballad, and brings the curtain down on the album well.
This album as a whole strikes as an immense step forward for IR. Everything is that little bit more than before, and there is less of the impression of a band that are happy to blend into the shadows. This album deserves all the attention that it will surely get, and if you like your EBM-industrial with both melody and feeling, and more than a little intelligence, you need to hear it.